When I was invited to write this meditation, I didn’t respond right away. Writing has never been easy for me. My ADD and perfectionism always battle each other, and somehow they manage to both distract and hyper-focus my attention at the same time. This is how you will find our overwhelmingly cluttered master bedroom under the same roof as my meticulously organized pantry. If you are reading this and thinking “Same!” – I see you.
So when I received a second gentle nudge to write, I admitted that I had been waiting. For inspiration. For spirit magic. Or maybe a bit of both. I re-read the writing prompts, and there was one question that I just couldn’t shake: What do you deeply long for?
For me, the answer is always more time. Time for the people I love. Time for projects. Time to take better care of myself. You can fill in the blanks. Time is simply my most precious commodity. And if I’m being honest, my longing for time can sometimes take a darker turn. It is hard for me to name out loud that some of the time I long for cannot ever really be. Time to spend with my dad…pre-cancer. Time for my parents…to enjoy the retirement that they deserve. Time to relax with my family…without riding the rollercoaster of fragile mental health.
Anyone who has battled cancer or supported a loved one on that journey knows how cancer affects time. So much of your time and energy is completely out of your control. Filled with medical appointments. Filled with calls on hold to insurance companies. Filled with sleepless nights…perhaps battling side effects…or Googling treatments…or battling anxiety. So. Much. Anxiety.
So last weekend found me attempting to make up for some lost time. Traveling to my hometown to stay with my parents for only the second time since the pandemic. As you can imagine, the longing for this kind of quality family time has been acute. It was on my drive to their house, though, when I knew the weekend would have its challenges. As text messages came in rapid-fire from my dad…I just knew. This might not be the relaxing, restorative family weekend we all craved. There would be moments of laughter and game-playing and storytelling, to be sure. There would also be tension. The kind of tension that comes with navigating cancer. Cancer that is every bit as exhausting mentally as it is physically. You see - Dad is in his 11th year of battling multiple myeloma. Eleven years. Eleven years of powerful, life-saving, miraculous medication. Medication that has also taken a very real mental toll.